Coin collecting may not sound like an exciting hobby, but it’s an opportunity to get your hands on pieces of history. Some coins have been out of circulation for over 100 years, so when you come across one, it’s something to jump on right away if you can swing it. In addition to the uniqueness factor, you’re also getting a coin with a story. The background behind why the coins were designed as they are is usually fascinating and makes a great conversation piece.

A few examples of these coins are the Indian Head Gold Coin, the 1921 peace dollar, and the 3 legged buffalo coin. Keep reading to learn more about these coins, and why they are the perfect addition to your collection.

The Indian Head Gold Coin is a Rare Sight Indeed

Originally, the gold Indian Head was worth $2.50. Also known as the Quarter Eagle, it was manufactured at the Philadelphia Mint between 1908 and 1929. Some years only a handful of proofs were made, such as 1910, when only 682 proofs were produced.

Proofed coins were struck twice with specific dies and planchets (the blank, round disc ready to become a coin) and fabricated under higher than typical pressure for a fuller strike. They are more difficult to find, and thus they are more valuable if you do come across one.

The Quarter Eagle nomenclature comes from the Gold Eagle, the USA’s first gold coin series. A Gold Eagle was worth $10, so other coins in the series are some denomination of that:

  • The Double Eagle represented $20
  • The Half Eagle was $5
  • And last but not least, the Quarter Eagle, or the Indian Head Gold Coin, was $2.50, or a quarter of $10.

Other things that set this coin apart include that it has no raised edge; rather, it has a recessed design. These coins are the only ones still in circulation that are like that. The design features a Native American on the front, and a bald eagle standing on arrows that have an olive branch wrapped around them on the back.

Peace Dollars Really Were Meant to Symbolize Peace

These coins are made of silver rather than gold. The Bland-Allison act, passed in 1878, required the Treasury to purchase at least $2 million in silver mined in the US every month, to use in the making of silver dollars.

After World War I, the idea was floated to create a coin commemorating the peace that followed. No one is exactly sure whose idea it was, but the most accepted thought is an article published in The Nusimatist, a monthly magazine from the American Numismatic Association, planted the seed. After some time and Congressional hearings, in May of 1921, it was decided to hold a contest for the design. Only some were invited to submit entries.

Anthony De Francisci was declared the winner. The final design was modeled after his wife Teresa and shows her image on the front, with an eagle on the back standing on an olive branch with “PEACE” depicted on the bottom. The coin itself went through a few redesigns before it was finalized and minted.

While this coin is generally not rare, the 1921 peace dollar is an exception.

Three Legged Buffalo Coins Show Mistakes Can Be Costly

Between 1913 to 1938, Buffalo nickels were produced as a copper five cent piece. They depict a Native American inside profile on the front and a buffalo on the reverse.

Soon after production began, it was noted that the dies used in manufacturing were being used three times as fast as with the previous design. In 1937, coins were issued with the buffalo missing a leg (hence the three legged buffalo designation) due to a pressman attempting to remove marks from a reverse die. This accidentally removed one of the buffalo’s legs and was caught too late to prevent the mistakes from circulating.

This coin is well known in collector circles and is an excellent element to any collection.

Add Some History to Your Collection

These coins, including the Indian Head Gold Coin, all embody pieces of American history and would make wonderful additions to coin collections. The history behind them is fascinating and will always give you something to talk about.